ISF response to WTO, FAO, IMF, World Bank and WFP's call for urgent action

Farmer wheat

Following the joint statement (July 2022) made by the World Trade Organization (WTO), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, and the World Food Programme (WFP) calling for urgent action to address the global food crisis, ISF has identified paths for the short and medium term in the four key areas outlined by the five signatories. 

These responses are based on the principles outlined in the Seed Sector declaration.

1. Providing immediate support to the vulnerable:

[…] “WFP operations should be facilitated through actions such as the recent agreement by WTO members not to impose export restrictions on its purchases of food for humanitarian purposes” […]

 Response: ISF emphasizes that seed is the basis of all crop production, and that the seed sector is a foundational contributor to the production of food. The seed sector recognizes that seed is the vital starting point for all crop production; that without it, there can be no harvest; and that this makes the seed sector a critical partner in the mission to end hunger and to achieve food security and nutrition for all. Quality seeds help alleviate poverty by boosting yields and yield security, allowing smallholder farmers to better nourish themselves and to obtain income.

2. Facilitating trade and the international supply of food:

[…] “Facilitating trade and improving the functioning and resilience of global markets for food and agriculture, including cereals, fertilizers, and other agriculture production inputs are key, as outlined in the WTO Ministerial Declaration on the Emergency Response to Food Security” […]

 Response: ISF encourages the creation of the best environment for global movement of seeds. The seed sector asks its partners among government and regulatory bodies to keep markets functioning, including keeping borders open to allow the free and efficient movement of seed and prevent crises like COVID-19 (and wars and conflict) from transforming into a hunger crisis, too.

3. Boosting production:

[…] “Taking action to encourage farmers and fishers to boost sustainable food production — in both developing and developed countries — and improve the supply chains that connect them to the world’s eight billion consumers is needed. This requires affordable fertilizers, seeds, and other inputs through the private sector as the primary actor in these markets” […]

 Response: ISF encourages seed choice for farmers to get access to high quality seed and farming inputs. The seed sector will continue to advocate so that farmers around the world are able to access the seeds of their choice, at the right time, and in the right place.

4. Investing in climate-resilient agriculture:

[…] “Supporting resilient investments in agricultural capacity and providing support to adaptation, smallholder farms, food systems and climate-smart technologies are essential to develop a resilient climate-smart agriculture that will ensure steady production in the years to come “[…]

 Response: ISF members will continue investing in science and innovation to develop and produce varieties that are locally adapted to farmers’ needs. The seed sector asks its partners to support the adoption of harmonized and science based regulations for seeds and plant breeding, which creates the necessary guarantees for the farmers and allows for the safe international movement of seeds.